Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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All posts by Monte Long

Driving Insurance

Fall – Top 4 Fall Driving Hazards

The start of fall brings a lot of welcome things: a new school year, cooler temps and changing leaves. 

You may not notice it right away, but your daily commute is affected by the shorter days and changing weather, too. (For example: Did you know wet leaves can be as slippery as ice?) 

Stay alert this fall. Here are the top things to look out for when you’re on the road:
 

1. Rain and wet leaves
As the weather cools down, the rain picks up. Combine that with lower temperatures and you’ll find your tires may have less grip than they did in the summer months.

To start, always drive cautiously in wet conditions – that includes driving slower than you would on a dry road. And be on the lookout for wet leaves, which can be as slick as ice.

It’s also important to check your tires to ensure they have enough tread. Insert a penny into your tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you insert the penny all the way and all of Lincoln’s head is still showing, that means your tread has worn down and it’s time for new tires.

Driving too fast for the conditions or cruising on worn tires can lead to hydroplaning. So it’s important to know what to do if you start hydroplaning: take your foot off the gas, firmly grip the steering wheel and calmly make steering adjustments. 

2. Deer collisions
Deer are most active from October to January, especially during the dusk and dawn hours. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of a deer collision, you know it can do severe damage to your vehicle.

Avoid deer on the roadways by slowing down during peak hours, paying attention to road signs and using your high beams to increase visibility when possible. Learn more about how to avoid hitting a deer…and what to do if you hit one.

3. Earlier sunsets
The days get shorter in the fall, so you’ll find yourself driving in the dark more often. This is another peak time for accidents.

Make sure you’re staying alert during nighttime hours. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and turn your headlights on during dawn or dusk hours. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and know when to swerve if there’s an object in the road.

4. School children
The kids are back to school. The house is quieter. But if you drive just before the school day starts or after it ends…you’re in for lots of crosswalks and bus stops. Welcome to back-to-school driving.

Since more kids are walking and biking to school, you’ll need to stay alert around schools and neighborhoods. Be aware of bus safety and school drop-off procedures as well. And if you’d like to avoid the risk altogether, consider finding a new route to avoid these high-traffic areas.

It’s always important to be prepared. But even the most cautious drivers can find themselves face-to-face with something unexpected. That’s why it’s important to have the right auto insurance.

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Car Broken Into

My Car Was Broken Into. Now What?

You walk out the door, ready to start your day. Then your heart sinks as you notice broken glass surrounding your car.

Unfortunately, you’re not alone. A car break-in is a scene that too many Americans encounter each year. And after those initial feelings of shock and disappointment subside, you may be left wondering what to do next.

Here are some steps you should take if your vehicle has been broken into:

  • Check your surroundings. Before you do anything else, look around to make sure you’re safe. Most of the time vehicle burglars are only after your valuables and quickly leave the scene. But if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, leave your vehicle and find a safe place to call for help. 
  • Record what you lost. If your car was broken into, chances are the thief found something of value. Check for missing purses, wallets, smartphones and other electronics. Then, make a list of anything that was taken. It’s also a good idea to take photos of your vehicle damage for reference. 
  • File a police report. To make a report, call the police office’s non-emergency number – not 911. While not all break-ins can be investigated, the report will help officers track local crime trends and can provide documentation for your insurer if you file a claim. 
  • Protect yourself from identity theft. If you discover any credit or debit cards are missing, immediately notify your bank to cancel the old cards and order replacements. They’ll also help monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.

    Pro tip: Getting back to normal after identity theft can be a lengthy, expensive process. Before you have to handle it alone, ask your Erie Insurance agent about adding identity theft recovery coverage to your homeowners or renters policy for around $20 a year. 

  • File an insurance claim. Should you file a claim or not? Here’s where a local, independent insurance agent can walk you through the process and help you understand what to do next. Damage to your car from a break-in is typically covered under your auto policy’s comprehensive coverage, but if any of your belongings were taken, they might be covered under your homeowners or renters policy.

One more thing: While break-ins are never completely preventable, you can take some steps to help lower your risk. Always lock your car doors, roll up your windows and keep valuables out of sight.

If you do have to file a claim, know that we’re on it. Your claim is how we start making things right for you, resetting the damage and distress of an unexpected loss so you can relax, rebound and get back to your life.

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Auto-Insurance

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Auto Insurance

When it comes to auto insurance, there are a lot of companies and coverage choices. How do you know who to trust and what’s essential? Some of the insurance terms like endorsements or comprehensive and collision coverage may also be a bit confusing. And what about those extras you can add on? Which ones do you need?

We’ve pulled together some of our best resources to make the experience of shopping for auto insurance easier. We’ll explore the ins and outs of coverage and what you should consider when buying or renewing your auto insurance policy.

Finding the auto insurance coverage that’s best for you
Whether you’re buying your first set of used wheels or a brand new car, you’ll need protection and service. Auto insurance kicks in for those unexpected mishaps—from a minor dent to a more serious crash. It also helps protect you, your passengers and your pets as well as some of the prized possessions being transported in your car.

Understanding auto insurance terminology
With coverage, you may wonder about some of the terminology used in your policy. Here are four common auto insurance terms and what they mean.

Exploring coverage options and additional protection worth considering
Almost in the same way that you could customize your car or truck, you can customize your auto insurance coverage. For instance, you may want to add emergency road service or rental car reimbursement coverage to your auto policy. The extra services do not cost a lot, and you’ll be glad to have them when you need them. Here’s more information about some of the options.

To review your current coverage, get in touch with an insurance advisor. Every Erie Insurance auto policy comes with a local insurance agent who will give you that personal touch—coverages you need and nothing you don’t, all at a great price.

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Business Risks

4 Overlooked Business Risks Covered

The success of any business depends on hard work and ingenuity. Should disaster strike, business insurance helps protect the effort and money you’ve invested in your business. But because businesses are so diverse, you should consider a variety of optional coverages too. These extras are added to your business insurance policy as endorsements. Here’s how endorsements can help cover four common business risks.

1. Data breaches: Any business that has personal or medical information about its customers, tenants or employees is at risk for a data breach. Most states have breach notification laws that not only require a business owner to inform any affected individuals (customers) of a data breach but also specify the manner and period in which the business owner must inform customers. Here are coverages you may want to consider:

  • Data Breach Response ExpensesIt could cover the expenses you incur when notifying affected individuals of a breach per state laws.
  • Data Breach Liability Coverage: It could cover damages that you are legally obligated to pay when your customers’ nonpublic personal information that is lost, stolen or accidentally released is used fraudulently. It also covers the cost to defend lawsuits seeking damages.

2. Employment practices liability: These days, hiring, firing and day-to-day employee management can be risky business. You’d like to think that your employees would never dream of filing a claim or suit against you or your business for discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment or sexual harassment. Unfortunately, it does happen. Responding to claims or suits like these will require time and money.

With Employment Practices Liability Coverage, you will not have to face an employment claim on your own. It can help protect you against liability damages and cover defense costs.

3. Professional liability: You’re expected to have technical knowledge or training in a particular area of expertise or perform certain services according to the standards of your profession. If you fail, you could be held responsible for any harm that you caused to another person or business. Professional liability coverage can provide you with protection for claims arising from negligent business or professional practices.

4. Identity theft: As a small business owner, your personal credit may be tied closely to your business. Having your own identity stolen, could jeopardize your credit and affect your business operations. ERIE’s Identity Theft Recovery coverage can be added to a business insurance policy and provide coverage1 for:

  • Certain legal fees, such as those incurred while defending any civil suits brought against you by creditors or collection agencies.
  • Lost wages.
  • Credit reports and postage, phone and shipping fees related to resolving identity theft and fraud.

Your business needs protection provided by a company and insurance adviser that you can trust.

Similar Erie Insurance May Articles

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DistractedDriving2018

Can You Guess Our Biggest Driving Distraction?

Of the more than 172,000 people killed in car crashes over the past five years, one in 10 were in crashes where at least one of the drivers involved was distracted. These statistics come from data analyzed by Erie Insurance housed in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Erie Insurance consulted with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its analysis.

But distracted driving doesn’t just mean being distracted by your cell phone.  ERIE’s analysis found daydreaming or being “generally distracted” (being inattentive, careless, or distracted–details unknown) or “lost in thought” was the number one distraction associated with fatal crashes. (See the infographic below for the full top 10 list.)

“Some people see driving as a time to relax and unwind and let their minds drift off, but that’s actually one of the worst things you can do,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. “Most people know about the dangers of texting while driving, but daydreaming while driving is an almost invisible distraction – people do it automatically without even realizing the risk.”

The Erie Insurance analysis of police data from 2012-2016 showed the majority of drivers who were distracted were “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” In fact, police report that 61 percent of distracted drivers were daydreaming at the time of a fatal crash, compared with 14 percent of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use.  Erie Insurance did a similar analysis five years ago and revisited the data to see if the types of distractions had changed over the years. The analysis found the distractions were largely the same.

HERE ARE THE TOP 10 DISTRACTIONS INVOLVED IN FATAL CAR CRASHES:

Distracted Driving 2018

Bloom said that because FARS data on distraction is based largely on police officers’ judgment at the time of the crash, and because people involved in a crash may be reluctant to admit to distracted driving behaviors when being interviewed by police, the numbers are difficult to verify. And they may, in fact, under-represent the seriousness and prevalence of driving distractions.

 

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAYDREAM?

To help drivers avoid daydreaming while driving, Erie Insurance reached out to Paul Atchley, Ph.D., an internationally recognized cognitive behavioral researcher. Atchley has studied distracted driving and worked with numerous national safety organizations to reduce it.

“One effective strategy to counteract daydreaming is to keep your mind alert with so-called passive forms of engagement, like listening to a radio show or a podcast,” Atchley said. “The beauty of passive engagement is that your mind will automatically tune it out when it needs to. So, if something out of the ordinary suddenly happens in your environment, your brain won’t even hear what’s on the radio anymore. It will be fully focused on the task at hand.”

Dr. Atchley cautioned against listening to a playlist of songs you’ve heard again and again, which is not recommended. Listening to something too familiar could actually encourage your mind to drift off.

Atchley offers these additional tips to help drivers keep their attention on the road:

  • Don’t replace boredom with a distraction. For example, never send or read a text to alleviate boredom. Instead, play verbal road games that help you focus, like “I Spy.” Make it even more effective by saying “I Spy a Distracted Driver” which will help your mind focus even more on the road and defensive driving.
  • Keep your hazard perception skills sharp. This means knowing where to look on the road ahead and watching for situations that may require you to take an action, such as changing speed or direction. Examples include a car entering an intersection or a pedestrian crossing the road.
  • Consider carpooling with another experienced driver. Just as professional truck drivers sometimes enlist a partner to share the driving duties, Atchley says having a co-driver can also work for everyday people. Another experienced driver sitting in the passenger seat next to you can serve as a second set of eyes.And, engaging in light conversation while you’re both looking at the road ahead can help keep your mind alert.

April is dedicated to Distracted Driving Awareness. It’s important to think about all the ways we can be distracted while driving all the time.  “We’re always looking after our Customers; we want to not only insure their cars but also protect their lives,” said Bloom, “so that’s why we’re drawing attention to the dangers of distracted driving, including driving while daydreaming.”

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/distracted-driving-study-2018

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Auto-Insurance

9 Things You Should Never Do to Your Car

You probably rely on your car every day to get you where you need to go. But how well can your car rely on you?

There are some things you should never do to your car. Are you guilty of any of them? Check out the list below to find out—and learn what you can do to give your car the care it needs.

9 things to never do to your car

  1. Put off the recommended maintenance. There’s a reason the car manufacturer gives you that little book when you buy a car. It contains important maintenance guidelines for the age and mileage of your car. By following what it says, you can keep your car running smoothly and safely—and save on having to pay for big repairs later on.
  2. Ignore any warning lights. Most cars come with a check engine light and other warning lights. If any warning light goes off, it’s time to take your car to a qualified mechanic ASAP.
  3. Never change the air filter. A fresh air filter keeps your engine running smoothly and improves your car’s fuel efficiency. Most manufacturers suggest you replace your filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. (Err on the lower side if you drive in dusty conditions or in stop-and-go circumstances.)
  4. Never check your tires’ air levels. Not having the right tire pressure makes for unsafe driving and reduced fuel efficiency. Most vehicles list tire pressure requirements on the driver side door post so you know how much air to give your tires.
  5. Have an unqualified person work on your car. Take the time to find a qualified car mechanic. (Keep in mind that you could qualify as “unqualified” if a repair is beyond your skill level.) Check out our article on how to handle an auto repair for helpful tips on finding a qualified mechanic.
  6. Rev the engine during the winter. Doing this doesn’t warm up the car—in fact, it can cause damage since the oil hasn’t yet worked its way through the engine.
  7. Leave keys in the ignition of an unattended car. This is one of the easiest ways to tempt car thieves—especially during the winter.
  8. Run your gas tank down to empty. Doing so cuts the life of the fuel pump—and puts you at risk of running out before you get to a station.
  9. Rarely wash your car. A thorough wash helps preserve the exterior of your car. That can ultimately help your car retain its resale value. A good wash is especially important during winter, when road salt does a number on cars.

Another way to protect your set of wheels is by having the right auto insurance. Contact an insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent for helping finding the right coverage at the right price.

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